All new, one of our favorites over at Korg Music has come out with a nifty DJ controller for a relatively affordable price point. We’ve seen a lot of high-quality, professional controllers hike up there to around a grand per, but what about the middle-priced DJ gear? With two high-quality platters for some responsive control, an overall stable build and a free copy of Serato DJ Intro included, you’re getting a pretty complete package for a decent price tag here. The ins and outs are relatively solid as well. Let’s check out the DJ controller in-depth.
Features and specs of the Korg Kaoss DJ Controller
- Integrated “Kaoss Pad” (control effects and synths)
- 2 responsive platters
- Free download of Serato DJ Intro
- USB Audio Interface built-in
- 2-channel mixer
- 2 volume \ 2 pitch faders
- Ins: 2 RCA, 1 1/4″ (Microphone)
- Out: 1 RCA, 1 1/4″ (Headphones)
- 1 USB Port
- MIDI available via USB
- 120 on-board effects
- Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.1″ x 6.2″ x 1.7″
- Compatible with most DJ software
Design and build
One of the biggest features of the entire DJ controller is their beloved and infamous “Kaoss Pad“. Although it’s improved throughout the years, it’s always had one job and still does. If you haven’t heard of what this does, it’s a DJ effect unit (in this controller, at the center, above the fader for easy access). If you’re into FX, this little module is great. You get 120 different FX and oscillators (filter, modulation, delay, reverb, gain, acoustic, lead, looper and more). There’s an “FX Release” for automatically adding a delay when you take your fingers off the pad, and the “hold” feature can maintain an effect even after you stop touching it. You can also use “Auto BPM” to detect the beat-per-minute of the current song you’re playing, and lastly, the scale\key let’s you basically cheat the universe by playing a synth in the key of your song without any incorrect notes. The Kaoss Pad basically controls the internal effects of the controller, although it can control the FX via Serato as well.
The platters are responsive and although aren’t too crazy in terms of replicating the original vinyl scratching effect, they get the job done. Just above the platters we have a ribbon which can be used to set hot cues and loops on, so Korg at least took convenience and workflow into consideration when designing this. The crossfader feels great as it’s pre-broken in…the DJ fader snobs will have to chime in there, but there are no problems as of now.
Aside from being an obvious DJ controller, another plus is the fact that it can act as a standalone mixer as well as a USB audio interface. Although many of us already have our audio interfaces incorporated into our studio\stage setups, if you do not for whatever reason, this definitely is a standout feature for you.
Overall build and quality
Overall, the build of the Korg Kaoss DJ Controller is solid. Since it’s so lightweight, it’s obvious the material is a bit plastic-made for the 1.6 pounds weigh-in. As compared to others such as Allen & Heath models made of steel that are quite heavy, this could a pro or a con to you. For traveling, it’s excellent because of the weight (great for laptop setups due to the slim design — it’ll fit in pretty much all laptop bags when you’re on the road); however, you’ll have to be careful as to not drop it or drop anything onto it, obviously. Due to the size (about the same dimensions as a laptop keyboard), we find it a plus since it’s one of the smallest DJ controllers we’ve ever seen.
Aesthetically, we’re super pleased with the black\blueish colors to it. The knobs are LED backlit and there’s some LED lights on the side for some extra pizzazz. On stage it’ll look sweet, or even in the studio when you pair it up with your other controllers.
Ins, outs and software
Most importantly and as you’ve noticed in the bullet point list, the Kaoss comes with a free download of Serato DJ Intro. We would’ve liked it if it was the full version, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Regardless, this is great if you’re looking to get your feet wet with Serato if you don’t have a copy as of now (it’s one of the best DJ software out there, period). A nice trial, and if you end up loving it (as most people do), you can always upgrade to the full version later on.
In terms of connectivity, it isn’t too crazy. You get two RCA ins for speakers, a 1/4″ for a mic (wish it was XLR, but you can always convert it), and for outs, an RCA and a headphone jack. We’re a bit disappointed there aren’t any MIDI in\out hookups, but you can still use MIDI via the USB cable that it’s powered by, so no harm no foul.
The final word on the Korg Kaoss DJ Controller
If you’re looking for a super mobile controller to use in your setup, or perhaps have an additional piece of gear to mess around with FX, this controller is for you. The main attractions as we’ve seen are the Kaoss Pad, onboard FX and synth sounds, and the overall small size for laptop setups on-the-go or merely snug in a studio.
In terms of a con, and this is speaking from a pretty harsh standpoint, is the lack of compatibility with Serato DVS. However, if that were the case, it would probably be a lot more expensive. So if you’re looking for a controller in that sense, we recommend checking our best DJ controller for Serato article. Otherwise, this controller is pretty packed full of features to act as a standalone controller but can still be incorporated into any DJ software setup.
All in all, the Korg Kaoss DJ Controller is solid for the price.